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In the Legislative Assembly


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was know.
Historical Information Bob Bromley is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly November 2015, as MLA for Weledeh

Won his last election, in 2011, with 89% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery (Reversion) October 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Madam France Benoit in the gallery today, the widow of the late Doug Ritchie and a major crusader on doing things better for our people and for the land. I think it’s very appropriate that she’s in the gallery today as we discuss this last item. I’ve certainly had Doug in mind as I’ve been doing a lot of my work and I know that a lot of my colleagues have too. Thank you very much.


Recorded Vote October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to return to item 5 on our Order Paper, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Mahsi.

---Unanimous consent granted

Motion 54-17(5): Climate Change Planning, Carried October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Very briefly, I want to thank all my colleagues who spoke today and I recognize that this is symbolic more than anything but sometimes symbols can be very important, as we all know. I appreciated the comment about elders and Mr. Yakeleya’s comment. We all can have different perspectives, I think. The more we learn about this issue, I think the more we will all speak with one voice, and our elders are one source of knowledge. They are very important on this issue. I want to recognize that Mr. Miltenberger has been a champion for the entire eight years that I’ve been in office, of policy and actions to deal with environmental issues such as this and his comments are relevant again today. I guess I’ll leave it at that and thank my colleagues for speaking and considering this motion. Mahsi.

Motion 54-17(5): Climate Change Planning, Carried October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Recently, I think it was on the 5th of October, Minister Miltenberger said, and I quote from Hansard: “Most of us would accept the reality that extreme weather is now upon us. Indeed, in fact, the science of climate change is firm, unwavering and conservative.”

Over my eight years in office, I have been a keen student of climate change and I’ve had a particular interest in seeing how it is reflected on the ground here in the NWT. It behooves good government to face the realities of what is happening and to face issues frankly and to deal with them.

As I go over my observations of NWT impacts from climate change, the exercise is not meant to be fearmongering, but rather to motivate clear thinking and thoughtful response to help mitigate and adapt the serious impacts upon our people and the society we live in. Here are some of the real events and costs we are experiencing as a result of climate change, impacts, at least events clearly aligned with climate change science. The community of Nahanni Butte was almost completely flooded after record- setting downpour and snowmelt in the mountains, costing millions in damage and having impacts on people’s homes and lives. The loss of the store led to impacts on people’s diets and access to groceries.

We are going into our fourth year of extreme drought, as low water levels have cost $50 million in diesel subsidies – on top of normal diesel budget – for electricity in Yellowknife alone over the past two years, with no sign of relief.

Recording-setting severe forest fires claiming huge swaths of boreal forest and caribou winter habitat in the North and South Slave and Deh Cho, costing almost $100 million over the last two years, have emitted millions of tons of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Just this fall, Tuktoyaktuk was again battered by storms and rising sea levels, damaging infrastructure and leaving a GNWT building hanging out over the sea, with unknown and ongoing costs to infrastructure. The island protecting the community harbour is rapidly disappearing and despite pouring resources into shoring up the land against this erosion, the loss of permafrost has meant the land is being easily washed away by these new unleashed forces of nature. The shoreline loss of some nearby areas is some 10 metres per year.

The Mackenzie River, the major artery to bring needed annual resupply to communities, has become less navigable each year due to periods of low water, causing delayed resupply or substantial cost for air resupply and increasing cost of living in already expensive communities. This represents a stressful lack of security for community well-being in the lower Mackenzie River Valley.

Melting permafrost is causing millions of dollars in public/private commercial and institutional infrastructure annually, with exponentially more to come. A startling example was the $14 million Arctic Tern Youth Facility in Inuvik that we wrote off after only a few years of use. As I mentioned, great new impacts are substantially greater by an order of magnitude.

Caribou numbers fail to recover and even continue to decline, undoubtedly at least partially related to climate change, with serious generational impacts on our cultures, food security and community self-sufficiency. These impacts reverberate throughout the ecosystem and are emotional and tragic in the lives of many people.

Highway and airport impacts from loss of permafrost, Highway No. 3, for example, has cost millions of dollars per year for a decade. Ongoing damage to the Inuvik and Hay River airstrips have cost us millions. The shorter construction season and permafrost challenge in a warming climate have added tens of millions in original cost estimates, most recently increased by up to another $32 million of the Inuvik-Tuk Highway at the halfway point in construction. The long-term viability and maintenance costs for this fragile road are in question given the projected impacts of a warming climate.

Mr. Speaker, the one thing we can be certain of is there are impacts everywhere we look for them. In some areas, they may not be apparent yet or they may be the opposite impact from an adjacent area in our large jurisdiction. For example, one area may suffer extreme drought and an adjacent region extreme precipitation and flooding. One area may have no impacts apparent, yet wake up the next day to find their world vastly changed. This is consistent with the science which shows a high variability in how impacts are expressed in any one area. It also means impacts are difficult to predict and forecast, with the exception that there is no normal anymore.

This means that actions to prepare for impacts must be well thought out and must take into consideration high variability and weather that comes with climate change. Clearly, in recent years, the dollar and human costs of impacts have soared to hundreds of millions of dollars annually and much anguish with costs forecast to increase exponentially over time.

In Paris this December, governments and other entities from all over the globe will gather to decide on required action, but as the Minister has said, every jurisdiction must do its part, and we are no exception. Things can happen much more effectively and quicker at the level of subnational governments. The challenge is how to be effective and efficient in both mitigating, adapting and planning for unavoidable impacts of climate change. We are no longer in a position to avoid some of these substantial impacts.

As we know, climate change affects every aspect of our lives: food and security, cost of living, housing, energy, jobs, public and private infrastructure from homes to hospitals. A thorough and comprehensive plan for mitigation, adaptation and dealing with the unavoidable impacts is now overdue if we are to minimize impacts and cost to our people and our government. Within that, a detailed strategy giving specific targets, actions and a schedule for weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy is required, as acknowledged but not acted upon in our Greenhouse Gas Strategy.

Such a process requires work to thoroughly understand at the community level what the science tells us, what our vulnerabilities are, and how we are going to address them. It requires working with all entities to determine implications to our public, private and commercial infrastructure, to the health of our citizens, to food security, to economic development, and to the roles that each entity can play in addressing these. It means wrestling with the realities of the costs that we are experiencing and that we know will increase in bringing those into our fiscal planning.

In 2008 the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Report was written, I believe, by ENR, and concluded with a short, very brief three paragraph summary on planning for the future. It was what I would call a very light document. This is now woefully inadequate, as I’m sure we all understand.

Mr. Speaker, colleagues, I hope you will support the call to bring this understanding to a comprehensive plan that will serve our public by minimizing and managing costs and impacts of climate change to the extent possible and preparing effective efforts to best deal with unavoidable impacts that we know will come.

I will be calling for a recorded vote, and I thank you, colleagues. Mahsi.

Motion 54-17(5): Climate Change Planning, Carried October 8th, 2015

WHEREAS the 17th Assembly’s Minister’s Committee on Energy and Climate Change failed to make any evident progress on planning for climate change;

AND WHEREAS the GNWT’s estimated annual costs associated with the impacts of climate change have increased rapidly to hundreds of millions of dollars;

AND WHEREAS the projected costs in public infrastructure damage caused by climate change through the loss of permafrost in the next 15 years is projected to be in the order of billions of dollars;

AND WHEREAS there is every reason to expect equally severe costs to private, commercial and institutional infrastructure as climate change impacts accelerate;

AND WHEREAS there continues to be a lack of understanding and acknowledgement of the ongoing and worsening impacts of climate change to infrastructure, health, economy, food security, community viability in coastal and low-lying regions, community resupply and energy security in our fiscal and operational management planning;

AND WHEREAS we are leaving the 18th Assembly with restricted financial potential in large degree due to unanticipated and unplanned extreme costs to manage climate change-related events;

AND WHEREAS acknowledging, anticipating, planning for and being prepared for climate change impacts can substantially reduce costs and enable actions that benefit our residents and communities associated through jobs and locally focussed activity;

NOW THEREFORE I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Frame Lake, that the Legislative Assembly strongly recommends that the Government of the Northwest Territories develop a comprehensive and long-term climate change mitigation and adaptation plan in anticipation of the projected effects of climate change;

AND FURTHER, that this action plan include a strategy for shifting the Northwest Territories from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, including targets recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020, and by 80 percent by 2050, each from 1990 levels;

AND FURTHERMORE, that the government provide a comprehensive response to this motion to the 18th Legislative Assembly by June 2018. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 955-17(5): Government Transparency And Accountability October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thanks to the Premier. Many think this government has lacked imagination and progressive thinking in seeking new solutions to long-standing issues and to the public’s repeated attempts to be recognized. For example, impacts of a global economy with the majority of benefits flowing away from the NWT and the costing left to our people is something the people have been questioning for some time.

How does the Premier think this government could become more responsive to the changing realities that global forces now subject the North to and to the public’s voice and input? Mahsi.

Question 955-17(5): Government Transparency And Accountability October 8th, 2015

During the 17th Assembly we’ve moved far from the inclusive form of decision-making called for under consensus government, in the opinion of some, with Members commonly learning about significant decisions after the fact in the media or by word of mouth on the street.

What changes would the Premier recommend to the 18th Assembly in the area of including Regular Members more thoroughly in the decision-making process? Mahsi.

Question 955-17(5): Government Transparency And Accountability October 8th, 2015

Thanks to the Premier. There are also many calls for improved accountability from our leaders. The promised, now cancelled review of the Deh Cho Bridge, the overdue energy efficiency discussion paper, the delayed junior kindergarten review, the failure to renew the Greenhouse Gas Strategy as promised in that document are examples that come to mind.

What are the Premier’s thoughts on how to improve the level of Cabinet accountability for our successors in the 18th Assembly? Thank you.

Question 955-17(5): Government Transparency And Accountability October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for Premier McLeod. They focus today on transparency and accountability. I hear from many constituents and colleagues that there are far too many decisions made by this government behind closed doors and in secret. Transparency can help our public become engaged and contribute to making progress on issues and becoming a more effective democracy. So I’m wondering in what ways does the Premier see that we can improve our performance in providing the transparency that people of the Northwest Territories expect from their government. Mahsi.

Acknowledgement 28-17(5): Sarah Erasmus – Sait Polytechnic Outstanding Young Alumni October 8th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I rise in the House to acknowledge my constituent Sarah Erasmus, a Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, or SAIT, Polytechnic Outstanding Alumni for 2015.

Through launching her own clothing company, Erasmus Apparel, she’s woven herself into the very fabric of Yellowknife and transformed an idea into a thriving business.

With eight employees, unique northern designs and a growing reputation, she’s sold more than 60,000 items through a storefront and online operations and proved that homegrown, sustainable businesses can thrive here.

I invite my colleagues to join me in congratulating Sarah Erasmus for a job well done.